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Tuesday, October 24, 2017
October 24, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:54 PM :: 3669 Views

The Coming Transit Apocalypse

Rail Plan B: FTA Contradicts Caldwell

UH: Permafrost Discovered in Hawaii--Proves Global Warming is Real

Willes Lee Reelected President of National Federation of Republican Assemblies

13 Years of Silence: Did House Speaker Scott Saiki Cover Up Kealoha Theft of $167K from Orphans?

PDF: 68 Pages of Case Files from Kealoha Trusteship  (Count how many times 'Attorney 1' signed papers in this case.)

CB: Appointing a guardian to oversee the funds was a standard probate court requirement, said Scott Saiki, an attorney and now the Hawaii State House speaker, who represented Kealoha in the guardianship appointment. In fact, the matter was so routine that Saiki, at the time an associate with the firm then called Bickerton Saunders & Dang said Monday he (claims he) did not remember much about it.

But more than a decade later, the seemingly innocuous matter is at the center of a federal indictment against Kealoha and her husband, former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha.

…According to the court order establishing Kealoha as guardian, there were safeguards designed to prevent theft of the kids’ money. For example, the money was supposed to be deposited into separate accounts at a federally insured bank. In addition, the court ordered that the accounts require signatures from two lawyers for money to be taken out — Kealoha, and an attorney from the Bickerton firm, who the indictment refers to as “Attorney 1.”

Saiki and Jim Bickerton were the only attorneys named in the guardianship case, and Saiki said he did not think he was Attorney 1, as he was only a young associate at the time.

“It must have been Bickerton,” he said.  (Translation: I’ll sacrifice Jim to save my ass.)

Asked to conform whether he was Attorney 1, Bickerton said, “I’m not commenting on that.” (Translation: I’m covering for someone.  You guess who.  And I might tell if anybody files an ODC complaint because I’m not taking the fall for this.)

In any case, according to the indictment, Kealoha cut the Bickerton firm out of the loop, setting up two trust accounts, each containing $83,884, with only herself as the signatory of the trust accounts.

The broader question of how an attorney could pull off such a scheme with another attorney helping oversee the trust accounts remains unclear.

Rules of professional conduct require lawyers to report to the state’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel if they know another lawyer has committed a violation of the ethics rules “that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.”

According to the indictment, Attorney 1 was questioning Kealoha about the trust accounts.

But it’s not clear whether a report was made to the lawyers’ disciplinary office or what the office did with any information it received.

Bruce Kim, chief disciplinary counsel for the office, declined to say whether anyone brought Kealoha’s activities to the office’s attention…. 

Hoohiki: Case # 1LG041000004  -- Court Record Shows Saiki Filed 12 times in Taito Case, Bickerton only once

Background: Feds: Kealoha Stole $167K from Orphans

KHON: Inconsistencies arise in Katherine Kealoha’s guardianship allegations

read … Grounds for Disbarment

Nobody in Hawaii’s Political Class Did ANYTHING to Stop Kealohas

SA: …Meda Chesney-Lind, a University of Hawaii criminologist, said the lack of oversight was a huge part of the Kealoha saga.

“If the feds hadn’t gotten involved,” the Kealohas “might have been able to brazen it out,” she said in an email. “All the local levers of power (particularly the Honolulu Police Commission) did absolutely nothing. MIA also include the City Council and the Mayor.”

Eric Seitz, who represents Puana in a civil lawsuit against the city, the Kealohas and several officers, also cited a lack of oversight, particularly for a unit that has no clear mandate, no rules and reports to one person.

“You have a real problem with accountability if nobody is supervising the chief,” said Seitz, who has called for an investigation of the overall unit and its practices and policies.

read … Only the Feds

Honolulu Police Comm Includes Three People who Wanted to Rehire Kealoha After Charges Were Filed

SA:…The federal public defender who first pointed out potential wrongdoing in the Honolulu Police Department to federal prosecutors is now calling for the resignation of three Police Commission members who had supported retired Chief Louis Kealoha in the wake of his federal indictment on corruption and conspiracy charges last week.

In an open letter published in today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser, First Assistant Federal Public Defender Alexander Silvert said three current members of the commission should resign because they voted to give Kealoha a new contract before his first term was up, repeatedly gave him high evaluation marks and voted to pay him $250,000 to retire instead of seeking to fire him for cause.

“Moreover, these three commissioners did absolutely nothing to learn the facts behind the allegations that have been at the center of the pending federal case for the last two years,” Silvert said in his opinion piece. The three did nothing after retired Officer Niall Silva pleaded guilty and acknowledged a conspiracy, or when Kealoha received a target letter from federal authorities in December, he said.

Silvert does not name the three in his open letter, but they are Commission Chairman Max Sword, Vice Chairwoman Cha Thompson and Commissioner Eddie Flores….

Link: Read Open Letter

read … Clean House First

Long Interviews as Police Comm Seeks Next Kealoha

KITV: …On Monday, day one, retired Honolulu police deputy chief Paul Putzulu was the first finalist to face commissioners Cha Thompson, Eddie Flores, Loretta Sheehan, and Steven Levinson.

After two hours, Putzulu walked out and described the interview to waiting reporters as “long” and “intense.”….

Aiu was the second finalist to face the police commission.

Honolulu Police Commission chairman Max Sword recused himself from the process due to his relationship with Aiu, who is his wife’s first cousin.

The remaining four commissioners will vote Wednesday afternoon, and they must be unanimous to select a new chief….

read … Next Kealoha

Honolulu Police Officer in court for federal wire fraud

KITV: …Maulia Labarre, 35, pled guilty in July. He's expected to be sentenced Monday and faces up to 20 years in prison.

He admitted to using his position as a police officer to have sex with someone suspected of prostitution in exchange for helping her pending criminal case.

Labarre worked for the HPD for eight years before being fired in May….

read … Another One

What about the Criminal Intelligence Unit?

ILind: …Another area of concern that needs to be addressed beyond the Kealoha’s current case is the alleged improper and illegal conduct of the Criminal Intelligence Unit.

It has to be cleaned out folks. The job of a CIU is to gather intelligence on criminal activity and terrorism. Frankly it is chilling to read in the indictment that CIU made a search of Mr. Puana’s home and conducted physical surveillance of him from “time to time” from June 2011 through 2013. How much time?

The obvious question that has not been completely answered is, if what they were doing here just one example of many where they were misused for “off the record” investigation of people who are not liked or marked for a “set up” by political or power interests? There has been recent criticism of cases filed by the Prosecutor outside of the normal channels through HPD and at least one has been criticized by a state court judge. Did Ms. Kealoha use the CIU or did she or others make it available for misuse by the Honolulu Prosecutor? ….

SA: Oversight of secretive HPD unit is urged

read … What about the Criminal Intelligence Unit?

Experts: Criminal case against former HPD chief, wife could bolster civil suits against city

HNN: The sweeping federal criminal indictment against former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, his wife Katherine and several current and former members of the HPD’s elite criminal intelligence unit could have a huge impact on the civil suits against the Kealohas and the city, legal expert said.

That’s because the federal indictment mirrors many of the allegations raised in a civil lawsuit by the Kealoha’s uncle, Gerard Puana, they said.

Former Honolulu Mayor and city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle said that if the Kealohas are convicted on federal charges, then those same allegations against them in the civil case are considered proven.

The burden of proof for a criminal case -- proof beyond reasonable double -- is much higher than that for civil lawsuit, which is a preponderance of evidence.

“If it's the same facts and the same allegations, you don't have to retry the civil allegations,” said Carlisle….

read … Bolster

HART, Caldwell Already Creating Excuses for Next Rail Tax Hike

SA: …less than two months later, questions are already rattling the recent swell of cautious support for the 20-mile transit line.

Last week, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) acknowledged that a monthly report submitted to the semi-autonomous agency for August by Jacobs Engineering Group — a federal contractor serving as a rail watchdog — said it was “not confident” the total construction price tag will remain at $8.2 billion. The document was not released publicly until September — after the Legislature’s special session tailored to fund rail at precisely that cost figure….

Immediately after the Sept. 1 vote, rather than breathing a sigh of bailout relief, Mayor Kirk Caldwell expressed misgivings — and did not rule out the daunting task of returning to state leaders for more help should funding fall short. Back in 2015, when the city secured its first bailout, HART leaders assured the public that the $1.5 billion package likely provided more than enough funding to finish rail.

Additional questions about rail-related spending emerged last week when the Federal Transit Administration said it never determined whether a proposed scaled-back alternative to Aloha Tower would have worked, instead of building the planned line to Ala Moana Center.

That so-called “Plan B” was proposed by rail officials in October 2016 as a way to potentially finish the project at the $6.8 billion available….

read … New rail strategy needs full vetting

Tsutsui move opens up mayoral race—Ing to Run for Congress?

MN: …Among those who have publicly said they will run for mayor are current Maui County Council Members Elle Cochran (anti-GMO activist convicted of armed robbery) and Don Guzman and former Council Member Mike Victorino….

State Rep. Kaniela Ing of South Maui, who was rumored to be considering a run for mayor, said Monday that he will not be seeking the seat but is mulling a run for U.S. Congress….

read … Tsutsui move opens up mayoral race

Police Slow to Respond as Abusers Harass Big Island Domestic Violence Shelter

HTH: …Some victims complained of police officers not taking their cases seriously or making callous comments.

Jensie Ramos, client advocate and safety coordinator at the CFS abuse shelter in Hilo, said there have been times when an abuser shows up outside the facility’s fence and police don’t arrive for another hour or sometimes not at all.

That makes it harder for victims to feel safe, she said.

“It’s getting to the point where staff are giving up on calling the police,” Ramos said.

She said one incident involved someone flashing their car’s headlights at the shelter from the driveway, while another left behind a machete.

Hawaii Police Department Capt. Randall Medeiros said he wasn’t aware of that issue but added such complaints should be directed to police supervisors….

CB: How Domestic Violence Can Lead To Homelessness

read … Police

Do-Nothing Big Island Ethics Comm ‘Should Just Resign’

HTH: The county Board of Ethics is looking for a way to add teeth to what has historically been a paper tiger, almost a decade after the County Council gave it authority to fine public officials who violate the ethics code.

The board also is considering revamping its 27-year-old rules to allow the staff, or perhaps staff with approval of the chairman, to weed out public complaints deemed frivolous or outside the board’s jurisdiction before they come before the board.

And it’s mulling sanctions against individuals who file frivolous complaints. Handling frivolous complaints is especially important during election years, when an ethics complaint might be filed solely to besmirch a candidate’s reputation, members said.

A January 2008 ordinance sponsored by former Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong and signed by Mayor Harry Kim gave the board authority to fine top public officials, including the mayor, council members and department leaders and deputies, up to $1,000 per violation for ethics breaches.

The Board of Ethics, however, hasn’t updated its rules and procedures to reflect the fines, so they haven’t gone into effect….

Kapaau resident Lanric Hyland, who’s filed successful and unsuccessful complaints with the county Ethics Board, doesn’t think complaints should go through a staff vetting process. There aren’t that many complaints filed, he said, and the board exists to hear them.

“I think a board that has very little to do anyway is trying to do even less,” Hyland said during a telephone interview. “It’s not like they’re overwhelmed with complaints. If they didn’t want to perform the public service, they should resign.”

read … Ethics

Meth Addicts Ousted from Freeway Underpass: Only Six Accept Shelter

HNN: …Of the 180 people estimated that were living there, only six accepted help.

"Most of the people we encountered were like, 'no we're good. Thank you very much,'" said Institute for Human Services outreach worker Justin Phillips.

There are no families with children living at the camp known for its drugs and gambling. …

For eight years, she lived under the viaduct.

"I was comfortable over there. It was just like home," said Torres….

from the road, once visible make-shift house boats that lined the stream were gone. Trash littered the ground in some piles that were several feet high.

Dressed in coveralls, a 40-man crew hired by the state began the clean-up, hauling away countless truck loads of rubbish. Once the trash is fully removed, transportation officials say they have a plan to keep squatters from coming back.

"As we clear the rail contractor is going to be coming in a putting up fencing and putting up video cameras in the area to make sure it stays clear. And also bring in security 24-7," said Department of Transportation Director of Highways Division Ed Sniffen.

The state says it will be about a month before the clean-up is fully complete.

Over the past week, animal advocates have rescued close to 100 dogs from the Nimitz camp…..

read … Tweekers

UH Unable to Maintain Accreditation, State Loses Hyperbaric Chamber

HNN: From last July through this month 52 divers were treated for decompression sickness — also called the "bends" — at the University of Hawaii's Hyperbaric Treatment Center.

The center also treated diabetics, patients suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning and other other life-threatening illnesses.

Last week, though, UH abruptly closed the center.

"This is having a huge impact across the state," UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said.

Several of the physicians had resigned or were in the process of resigning and there were no replacements.

"It got to the point where some of the things they were trying to do to address the departures just weren't panning out," Meisenzahl said.

Sources tell Hawaii News Now that the doctors filed formal complaints over unreconciled differences with UH and center management, and were concerned that a few years ago the center lost accreditation….

This past legislative session lawmakers gave the university $1.5 million to upgrade the facility….

read … Incompetence

Obvious Futility: Hawaii one of seven U.S. states to not submit bid for Amazon HQ2

PBN: Amazon.com said its call for second headquarters proposals received 238 bids from cities and regions in 54 states and provinces across North America.

The Seattle-based internet retailer and cloud computing giant launched its contest for a $5 billion, 50,000-employee "HQ2" in September. Amazon asked North American governments to submit bids for the campus including infrastructure data, demographics and potential subsidies.

The window to submit proposals closed Thursday.

Amazon said the bids include 43 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The only U.S. states not represented in the bids were Arkansas, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming….

(Ige and Caldwell should be commended for recognizing that their tax n spend policies have rendered any such effort on their part laughable.)

read … Obvious Futility

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency to meet on Nukes

SA: …A mild-mannered presentation by Hawaii Emergency Management Agency points out the need to stock supplies. The second one to come in a week or so will play the warning siren wavering tone. OK, that’s a little scarier.

Still, it would be worth getting a few more particulars about planning at a public session, 9 a.m. Nov. 4 at Building 303 in Diamond Head Crater…..

read … Nuke

US appeals Hawaii judge's order blocking newest travel ban

AP:The Trump administration on Tuesday appealed a Hawaii judge's order that blocks the newest version of the travel ban.

Attorneys for the U.S. government filed court papers saying they are taking the case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has blocked both of President Donald Trump's previous bans….

read … Appeal

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